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By Tom Winnifrith, The Sheriff of AIM | Thursday 7 April 2016
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
City law firm Pinsent Masons acted for Sefton Resources (SER) as it attempted to gag myself and Brokerman Dan (Levi) from exposing the fraud at the heart of that company under Jim Ellerton. We stood up to Pinsent Masons bullying and won that libel case. Sefton caved, Ellerton was fired and we had our costs and damages paid by Sefton. Now I have obtained a leaked email which shows how Pinsent Masons partner Russell Booker urged Sefton to make fraudulent internet postings to discredit myself and Dan. Pinsent Masons claims to be an ethical firm. How can it be ethical if it does not fire Booker at once?
The email makes it clear that Booker is urging Sefton to use its IR man Dr Michael Green to post comments about myself and Levi on the internet anonymously. That is called a smear. It is a breach of all the principles of IR and PR and the sort of thing the FCA takes a very dim view of indeed. Company spokesmen should not be posting comments relating to listed companies who they act for pretending to be someone else - for that is a fraudulent post in that it is misleading. It is almost certainly market abuse it is without doubt unethical as Booker knows full well. Yet he urged Sefton to do that.
What does Booker mean by "set records straight"? He means smear and I have access to other emails which show that explicitly and which I shall publish in due course if Pinsent Masons refuses to take action against Booker.
As for Booker's suggestion that Dan and myself showed no common sense or remorse it is laughable. Russell you fucking moron we were proved right, your client resigned in disgrace we were 100% vindicated. Do you by any chance want to show some common sense and remorse now?
This matter is now for Pinsent Masons to deal with - it has the email now even if Booker tried to bury it internally. It can continue to take no action against Booker and I can continue to publish emails to show how as a firm all its talk of having ethics, morals and principles is just a flagrant lie. I reserve the right to deliver copies of this and other emails to the Solicitors Regulation Authority with a formal complaint against Booker for his actions and Pinsent Masons for condoning his actions. The ball is now in the Court of Pinsent Masons which has repeatedly declined the opportunity to apologise to myself and Dan for its actions regarding Sefton. It has no remorse.
The email follows:
"Russell Booker" <[email protected]>
"Jim Ellerton" <[email protected]
Subject: Levi and Winnifrith
You have seen the aggravating responses from the bloggers, they show little remorse or common sense.
We see 3 options going forward:
1, Do nothing further in the hope that over time they will get bored and move on. This is probably unlikely in the short term. Perhaps Michael or a friendly third party could add himself as an anonymous commenter upon their blogs, to set records straight...
2. Tell the bloggers (and make it public) that you regret their belligerent tone but in the light of their intransigence it is in shareholders interests to save cash and continue to focus on developing the business rather than litigating. Again Michael or a third party could comment anonymously.
3. Spend some time verifying all announcements and seek specialist defamation counsel's opinion. Estimated additional costs E4,000. Assuming you wished to do so and counsel's advise was positive, we would then issue proceedings, seek injunctions etc. and they will have the onus of proving their comments in court, I guess the action would settle soon after (most do) but if it went all the way to trial a broad estimate is an additional El00k plus. It may be possible to obtain 3rd party litigation funding for this so that you can hedge the costs but I expect funders would have concerns about whether either blogger can pay damages. If the action failed Sefton would be liable for around 60% of their costs, this can be insured against. When you indicate how you would like to proceed I will ask Nigel and Helen to give more detail if required. In the meantime please see the attached guidance notes.
I have sent a chaser to Karl Hughes at Fox Davies as he has not reverted to me on the warrant issue. I would advise that if they don't accept we accept their offer anyway.
This email is sent on behalf of Pinsent Masons LLP, a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales (registered number: OC333653) authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The word 'partner', used in relation to the LLP, refers to a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant of the LLP or any affiliated firm of equivalent standing. A list of the members of the LLP, and of those non-members who are designated as partners, is displayed at the LLP's registered office: 30 Crown Place, London EC2A 4ES, United Kingdom. We use 'Pinsent Masons' to refer to Pinsent Masons LLP and affiliated entities that practise under the name 'Pinsent Masons' or a name that incorporates those words. Reference to 'Pinsent Masons' is to Pinsent Masons LLP and/or one or more of those affiliated entities as the context requires.
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